It Sucks When You Don’t Win

winSo, not that long ago, I had a massive opportunity fall into my lap. It was big. Like REALLY big. Like the MUTHA of all proposals. I was so so SO excited about it, worked like a crazy person (with my biz partner) to pull it together. And though I say so myself, we did a crackerjack job.
“They’d be crazy not to go for this!” we said to ourselves (as did a couple of trusted colleagues we ran it by).

Well. I didn’t win. Neither did anyone else, for that matter… I was the only one in the running (bizarre but true). And even though the prospect was “very impressed” with the proposal (it was/is beeyootiful) and a really cool video we I put together for the presentation… we didn’t win. Not because we weren’t creative enough, or weren’t strategic enough, or didn’t think big enough. But
Shonali Burke
we DID.
You see, the prospect felt the budget was “just too high.” Even though what they have in the palm of their hands could literally revolutionize day-to-day living and have an incredible impact on the world, and even though they’ve already invested gazillions in the technology + production + yada yada yada behind it … … when it came to the branding and marketing thereof, essentially *they* couldn’t think big enough. Now, I’m not telling you all this because I was unable to digest a bunch of sour grapes (even though it KILLS me to think of what we could have accomplished, and what they threw away … they didn’t even try to negotiate!). I truly hope they are able to bring this incredible product to the world the way it deserves. I’m telling you all this because it’s a good reminder that: a) You can put your heart and soul into something, but it might not work out, and that’s just life; b) If you truly put your H+S into it, that doesn’t make *you* a failure. It simply means it didn’t work out; and c) Even if you feel like living in your robe and day drinking (v. interesting article on DD here, btw) for the next several days when said H+S effort didn’t cut it, you’ve gotta get up offa your thang after a while and move on.
Btw: I may or may not have stayed in my robe all morning when I got the news… but I definitely did *not* day drink. So there was a win right there.
Here’s how else I won: I got really really REALLY excited over this product/project. I mean, excited in a way I haven’t been in a loooong time. The kind of kickass team (18 incredibly talented and diverse pros just on paper!), and proposal, I pulled together… I’d NEVER before articulated a vision, or put a strategic + tactical framework in place, for something this big. But now I have. It scared me witless at times, but I (and my biz partner) pushed through it and did it.  And now, as I think about what kind of work I want to do in 2018 and beyond… I know exactly what that is. Which is this:
I help purpose-driven brands bring big ideas to life.
Because that is EXACTLY what I – with my kickass team – would have done for this company. And that is EXACTLY the kind of work I want to do, and how I want to make a difference in the world. Which means that all those hours that went into the proposal weren’t wasted. They simply helped me get super clear about the next phase of my career, and prepared me for my next Big Thing. And even if I don’t get the very next big one, or the one after that…. if I keep going, I will. And it will all have been worth it. #epicfails happen to us all. Probably a good thing too, else we’d be insufferably arrogant.
The key is to keep going. Right?
So I will keep going. And if you’re experiencing something similar, leave a comment below and tell me how you will keep going. And we’ll keep each other going. What else is life about, right? Image: Austin Schmid via Unsplash

Author information

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
It Sucks When You Don’t Win